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  1. #1
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    http://www.adventure-journal.com/201...5-inch-wheels/


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    Dude, I can't believe how many people on MTBR are still in 650b denial. Everywhere you look the writing is on the wall in big bold letters.

  3. #3
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    Sea Otter was just the opening salvo for 650b becoming the dominant wheel size.

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    Good, interesting article. I personally don't think 26ers are going any where, there's nothing really wrong with my Turner (26) now. I've ridden 29ers, they're great too, they have their places. I've been experimenting with 650 on my Turner and am shopping for one. Bottom line, if the 650 (or 29er) weren't around, I'd still be having fun on my 26er and enjoying it. The 650 will just make riding a bit more fun. I guess it goes back to the 80's when I started mountain biking. It didn't matter what we were riding or where we got our rides from, we were just out enjoying the riding and the challenges.

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    IMO:

    Like so many products, there are positive and negative sides on each solution.

    It's impossible (physically speaking) to have all the good aspects of a solution, and none of the negative sides.

    You can "attenuate" the negative sides on each solution, but like everything, those aspects will always be present.

    also: it's the rider, not the bike!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tkul View Post

    also: it's the rider, not the bike!
    Yes, but the bike -- whether it's wheel size, dropper post, short stem/wide bar -- can be an incredible help to the rider.

  7. #7
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by jon123 View Post
    Yes, but the bike -- whether it's wheel size, dropper post, short stem/wide bar -- can be an incredible help to the rider.
    Not to mention that a world class pro, whatever they can do on any old bike, is not going to try to compete against other pros on anything less than the best possible, in every respect, equipment they can get. When success is measured in tiny increments, every possible advantage is important. Look at PED scandals for example


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    And yet, where are the bikes in real life? I ride in Phoenix, where mountain biking is quite popular and we ride year-round. I ride often. Aside the from the 650b I built (and hated) several years ago, I've seen exactly one (1) 650b bike on the trails here.

    Not that I have anything against any wheel size. If it's working for you, I think that's great. But I also recognize the bike industry hype machine when it swings into action.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Dude, I can't believe how many people on MTBR are still in 650b denial. Everywhere you look the writing is on the wall in big bold letters.
    Dude, I can't believe that people are so obsessed with the size of their mountain bike wheels.
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    Likewise - I have yet to see a 650b on the trail (though I have built about a dozen of them) and I ride *every day* on trails near a metro area with >1 million people.

    Remember that most of the bikes that everyone is showing at Sea Otter are not yet available for sale (or just released), though, so we may see a big wave of them out on the dirt soon. Or not. A LOT of bike companies are releasing what look to me like pretty similar 650b setups - not sure the market can actually support them all.

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  11. #11
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Likewise - I have yet to see a 650b on the trail (though I have built about a dozen of them) and I ride *every day* on trails near a metro area with >1 million people.

    Remember that most of the bikes that everyone is showing at Sea Otter are not yet available for sale (or just released), though, so we may see a big wave of them out on the dirt soon. Or not. A LOT of bike companies are releasing what look to me like pretty similar 650b setups - not sure the market can actually support them all.
    Still a rare sighting pretty much anywhere- both on the floors of bike shops and on the trails. One of our LBS owners told me yesterday his shop was picking up Santa Cruz, which wants him to have bikes on display. He will be stocking only Tall Boys and Bronsons. Not sure about Highballs. But NO 26'ers. We are not in Nomad territory here, and the only VPP's he thinks he will sell are in the larger wheel sizes.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens with Bronsons which can be demoed and taken home in the same day. Too often we have to order and wait for the specific bike we want around here. No other 650b's are carried in stock anywhere near here. Even if you want a Jamis 650b, you have to order it.


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    Giant has made it pretty clear that they will be throwing 26ers under the bus, and I imagine most other manufacturers will follow suit.

    Juskaitis also bluntly acknowledged that he didn’t expect all three wheel sizes to exist very far into the future. “It’s a tremendous pain to make all three, and have our shops understand three different technologies, and have our shops carry all those wheels and tubes,” he said. “We just can't sustain three wheels sizes. It’s too many SKUs. You have to kill something.”

    It's just a matter of economics, as it always has been.

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    For those in Strava mode, maybe every second counts on their ride... for me since I ride in group, who cares about those tiny/big seconds? Unless I'm competing against my shadow...........

    For everyone interested in wining, yes, I agree that you need the latest item, but for the weekend warrior, the most FUN, is where I spend my Euros. But how many of us is in that boat?
    PS - Yes, 29er(275 give some advantage, I'd like to think about that!

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    I just purchased an Altitude 750 650b.
    I am not one who is trying to shave some Strava seconds. I will never race. I'm more competitive with myself than others. I went with the in between size because I wanted the best riding platform that I could afford. Moving from 26" was decided upon for many reasons all which have been beatin to death here an elsewhere. Bottom line, going to 650b made the most sense for me, and I am glad I had this option.

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    When asked, my LBS said the 650b will never see the light of day. Haha, so I went home and rode mine.
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    Nice article. But, 650b isn't a metric size, it's a traditional French size (like 700c). Surprised no one else commented on that.
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    I did see an Intense 275er on Gooseberry Mesa in Utah this year and a 275er in Moab. The 275er in Moab was a Rocky Mountain Altitude my buddy rented. Seems like tire size is a topic in our groups when we stop. When we gliding down the trail, it doesn't matter much.

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  18. #18
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by bolandjd View Post
    Nice article. But, 650b isn't a metric size, it's a traditional French size (like 700c). Surprised no one else commented on that.
    Too many USA 'mericans on this site. Except for nut/bolt sizes & suspension travel, most of us know little about metric here, and even less about traditional French wheel sizes.

    Of course, all we have to do to learn about wheel sizes is consult Sheldon Brown's website:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html




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  19. #19
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    And yet, where are the bikes in real life? I ride in Phoenix, where mountain biking is quite popular and we ride year-round. I ride often. Aside the from the 650b I built (and hated) several years ago, I've seen exactly one (1) 650b bike on the trails here.

    Not that I have anything against any wheel size. If it's working for you, I think that's great. But I also recognize the bike industry hype machine when it swings into action.
    I have seen none as well, except for my own, which I love. Will have company when the local Santa Cruz dealer gets his Bronson which is on order.

    By the same token, I have never seen a SRAM XX1 drivetrain. I suppose this reflects that both XX1 and 650b are still relatively novel products with high price points, and has little to do with the quality of each in terms of performance vs. what is readily available and popular: like 2X10 29'ers for example.

    The debate over whether 650b is market driven hype or rider driven evolved product apparently still rages. When I read mtbr and look at WC racing results, I incline to the latter


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  20. #20
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    XX1 is everywhere around here. I've personally sold at least 10 bikes just in the last few months with full XX1 (including a 650b!) SRAM OEM guy told me they're selling the stuff (aftermarket stuff) at something like 10x the rate they projected.

    I even saw a singlespeeder with XX1 cranks and ring the other day, which makes no sense at all to me since chain retention shouldn't be a problem, but whatever.

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    I wrote about this before but I spent time with the mtb product managers from Spec'd three years ago on my local trails. They were talking about what to do about long-travel bikes because 29rs were too long. I also spent some time with the RockShox guys two years ago talking about 650. Both groups said 'no way', 'nothing in development' and that 650 didn't make sense. I was riding a 650 Spec'd at the time and they looked at it and just said 'no'. They were very resistant to 29 back in the day as well. I never thought I would hear Chamberlain say he now chooses to ride 29. To me, it means the enduro29 is THAT GOOD.

    Obviously, they had no reason to listen to me and there's no way I knew this was coming like a frikkin tidal wave, but it's really amazing. It's rider driven for sure. People rode it and saw the benefits right away. Of course it's not for everyone.

    The hype comes from the riders, through the marketing you see. It's not invented. There really isn't a lot of BS in the bike industry. 650 really seems like a good idea and has been validated by a lot of people. It's ok to not be into it but don't say it's not beneficial to have real choice with the wheel size. It makes you sound like a congressman...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmats View Post
    Good, interesting article. I personally don't think 26ers are going any where, there's nothing really wrong with my Turner (26) now. I've ridden 29ers, they're great too, they have their places. I've been experimenting with 650 on my Turner and am shopping for one. Bottom line, if the 650 (or 29er) weren't around, I'd still be having fun on my 26er and enjoying it. The 650 will just make riding a bit more fun. I guess it goes back to the 80's when I started mountain biking. It didn't matter what we were riding or where we got our rides from, we were just out enjoying the riding and the challenges.


    ......except that this somehow became a fanboi contest about which wheel size will kill which.

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    I have two friends on Intense 650b bicycles. I've given them the parking lot/around the block test and must admit that I found them to have a very similar vibe to 26". Rather than feeling confused (when I ride most 29ers I am left asking why), I wanted to take the 650b out on the trail and rail the piss out of it!

    I'll be keeping my 26" wheels though - unless I have a sudden influx of disposable cash.

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    Has anyone ever thought that some might NOT like the increased rollover? I agree 27.5 and 29 add efficiency and newer riders will feel more comfortable on them (which is great for the sport of mountain biking). But what about those of us who like to pump through terrain on "AM" bikes and bomb through the chunder feeling it below us, using our arms and legs to throw our bike around. I like the challenge of mountain biking. I like the feel of maneuvering through steep, technical sections on a 26. I have a hardtail 29er for those days where efficiency and simplicity is valued above all else, and it beats me up less than my hardtail 26 did on long rides, but it's not my most FUN bike to ride by a long shot. I don't want to steamroll rock gardens, I want to feel them. Maybe I'm the minority. If I was racing I'd feel differently, but I'm not...so I want the most fun per mile, and for now, that is my 26 inch bikes.

    I'm glad we have choices, I hope that remains to be true. I hope some of you can see the validity in my point. I've tried 29" full suspension bikes and they weren't for me. They were stable at speed, they made some sections much easier to clean. But they still turned slow and made some trails feel flatter. Some people love this, but in my mind if your bike is doing half the work for you, what's the point? Flow is awesome, but I don't want EVERY trail to be smooth, buff singletrack either. I'll be sad if the 26 goes away at some point (not even factoring all the money I've invested into 26 and 26" wheels and tires).

    That being said, I will demo some 27.5 bikes when I get the chance and see how I like them. I haven't written them off completely, but I still feel they may lose some of what makes mountain biking fun in the first place. I like having modern suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, etc, so I'm not against progress in technology. Increased rollover to make riding through terrain easier just sounds the opposite of appealing for me and my riding style. If it retains the same playful feel as my 26 without muting the trail, maybe I'll be on one someday. Time will tell.
    Last edited by BaeckerX1; 04-23-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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    Unless you ride a rigid bike, or a BMX, in order to better feel the chunder, I don't think what you're saying makes any sense. I mean, if the trail feels too easy, you can always go faster, or ride gnarlier trails, right? Mountain bikes inherently make trails easier to ride - that's the point. You don't *have* to ride wide knobby pneumatic tires or suspension, and they definitely make the trail feel muted as compared to, say, bare wooden rims on a rigid bike.

    That said, it's all subjective and if you know what makes you happy, stick with it.

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    LOL Walt nice edit

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Unless you ride a rigid bike, or a BMX, in order to better feel the chunder, I don't think what you're saying makes any sense. I mean, if the trail feels too easy, you can always go faster, or ride gnarlier trails, right? Mountain bikes inherently make trails easier to ride - that's the point. You don't *have* to ride wide knobby pneumatic tires or suspension, and they definitely make the trail feel muted as compared to, say, bare wooden rims on a rigid bike.

    That said, it's all subjective and if you know what makes you happy, stick with it.

    -Walt
    I completely admitted it was all subjective. I just KNEW I was going to get the go ride a rigid BMX comment. Soooooo predictable. 29er guys say the same thing when you tell them you don't like their Koolaid No point taking it to extremes. I even said I like modern technology, but there is a personal point (like 29er full suspension) where [I FEEL] it becomes too much and just robs some of the fun out of many trails. I ride plenty of gnarly trails and go fast, so that's not the point. I know I don't have to ride 27.5 bikes. I think I made it clear that I'm glad we have choices, I just don't want to see 26 go away. I have no desire to ride wooden wheels either, so I guess that makes my opinion invalid?

    I did say I would try 27.5 bikes when they become more readily available. I wasn't bashing on them or anything. I just don't want to lose the feel of my 26 inch bike. Certain features make mountain bikes handle better without losing the fun factor. The entire wheel size revolution has been predominantly marketed around making rough terrain easier and gaining efficiency. While the bikes may be faster and gain efficiency, they lost some fun factor for me. I readily admit I just haven't had the opportunity to ride 27.5 bikes to see if this is more of the same. The availability hasn't been there until recently.

    Everyone has to draw the line where they feel they need/want the extra advantage and how it feels to them. I just don't want somebody else deciding what is best for me. The whole 27.5 revolution was started by people who didn't want to be told they should ride a 26 or a 29, yet those same people want 26 to go away?
    Last edited by BaeckerX1; 04-23-2013 at 12:00 PM.
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    Well, if you've been riding bikes a decent amount of time (ie 20 years) you remember what we all considered a "downhill" bike back in the mid 90s, right? 3" of travel? I had a Judy XL on my LTS Team for DH races that was 80mm (70mm of travel in the rear!), which was SO much travel I couldn't imagine wanting more. Now I won't even ride an XC bike with less than 100mm and even that's on the short side, travel wise. Tires bigger than 2" were pretty much unheard of prior to the late 90s, now they're ubiquitous.

    My point is that outside of a few extreme retro grouches, we have ALL (XC geeks, freeriders, downhillers - pretty much all mountain bikers) been moving to technology that smooths out the trail. More and more of it every year. Is there going to come a time at which we don't *want* more technology to smooth out the trail? Maybe, but I don't think we've gotten there yet and I bet you'll be on a bigger wheeled bike in the next few years and never look back.

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    How bout a hover craft?
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    Well you're missing the fact that as bikes have progressed, the terrain the bikes have ridden on has gotten accordingly more gnarly and more technical. Look at the downhill tracks from years ago compared to today. So while the technology has progressed in mountain biking, it hasn't just made the same trails easier. It has progressed riding beyond what was once even thought possible. Look at some of the riding in Where the Trail Ends for example. Imagine even trying to backflip off a cliff on that old bike you mentioned. Is 27.5 going to progress riding beyond where it already is, or is it just going to make existing trails easier/faster? Did 29 push the boundaries of mountain biking in noticeable ways or just make some riders faster in certain arenas? Just making conversation here.

    I think there are some innovations that make mountain biking easier and more fun (drop seatpost for example), but others that make things easier but less fun. Some will argue that a drop seatpost is a crutch, but really it just automated something that many people already did, which is undo a quick release and lower the saddle. It just made the same process more convenient so you could spend more time on your bike having fun. Increased wheel size gives the advantage of extra rollover in rough terrain that allows you to carry speed easier. That's awesome, but is it more fun? not to me. It wasn't on 29ers. I could practically sleep through certain rocky sections that required lots of body control on my 26. It remains to be seen how a 27.5 bike will ride on the same trails I love. I may eat my words.

    I'm not saying 27.5 bikes don't have a place. The idea is sound, the technology and geometry is there. But for it to be the future that is forced upon mountain biking and to even think of eliminating the 26" wheel? That's what 29er people said originally. Just think what would happen if we were ALL on 29 inch wheels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    If it retains the same playful feel as my 26 without muting the trail, maybe I'll be on one someday. Time will tell.
    This is EXACTLY what 650b does in my book. It is still quick and maneuverable - fun! - like a 26", with just a bit more traction and roll-over that allow you to push it a bit harder, faster. It just feels right to me. I have all 3 sizes, and have tested or demo'd more. Ultimately, it is whatever fits and works with your riding style and terrain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    This is EXACTLY what 650b does in my book. It is still quick and maneuverable - fun! - like a 26", with just a bit more traction and roll-over that allow you to push it a bit harder, faster. It just feels right to me. I have all 3 sizes, and have tested or demo'd more. Ultimately, it is whatever fits and works with your riding style and terrain.
    That's great. I hope that's the case. I've looked at several 27.5 bikes but I really love my Pivot Mach 5.7. I'm looking for a DW-Link bike that is the same travel as my Pivot. Pivot came out with the 27.5 Firebird, but really didn't design it around the wheel size so it's not ideal in my mind. I've built my Mach up pretty burly, and the Firebird is more travel and more frame than I really need for an everyday bike even in really steep, rough terrain. The bike gets pedalled up a lot of big climbs here in Colorado (so I like to keep it reasonably light) and I've never wished for more on the descents. I have a downhill bike for the bike parks. The Bronson looks nice, but I'll wait to see what Ibis, Pivot, Turner do in the future.

    I guess the oft-repeated question is...is 27.5 a solution to a problem or a solution in search of a problem? It will definitely drive new bike sales, so that's good for the industry, and ultimately the consumer. I just don't see it killing 26 since there are plenty of us who love the "feel" of our 26" bikes. At least I hope that is the case. From a pure innovation standpoint I love 27.5. But as people have said, the bike industry isn't like most industries and may be pushing more innovation than it can sustain.

    The bike industry is trying to go from an industry where most would buy a bike maybe every 5-10 years to one where people replace their bike every 1-2 years. There's nothing wrong with that, it's a business and businesses need money. We're already at a place where most parts can't be stocked and almost everything is special order (which just contributes to more people shopping online). The sheer number of choices for the uneducated consumer is just mind-boggling. One only need look at the different fork/hub/headset combinations. Local bike shops aren't Best Buy and they can't possibly stock every option like they can when it comes to technology and all its frequent innovations/iterations. Innovation is great, but it's very important bike companies handle this properly to avoid alienating consumers.

    The industry is experiencing what I call iPad/iPhone syndrome. Most modern bikes are so great and geometry is so dialed that they're now making only incremental improvements every year and marketing the hell out of them to drive sales. The iPad was a great product, and could have been released with a front-facing camera (technology was there), but they withheld that feature and 1 year later released the iPad 2 that was slightly lighter and had that camera. People bought it in droves...again. People replaced their [less than a year old] iPhone 4s with 4Ses just to get Siri. New thru-axle standards, tapered steerers, BB92/30, carbon...all new things introduced that were so much better than what we were using that we need to upgrade something. 27.5 will get people to replace perfectly good bikes with new ones, just like 29ers did. What will be the next innovation to convince you to buy a new bike? Nothing wrong with that, just something to be aware of.
    Last edited by BaeckerX1; 04-23-2013 at 12:53 PM.
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    Just FYI, according to BRAIN the average "high end" (I think their definition of that was >$1500) bike is owned by it's original owner for 18 months!

    So yes, Iphone culture comes to bikes. Hard for me to knock it, though, since it's my livelihood. I guess all I can say is I hope the bikes I build are ridden for longer than that.

    It will be interesting to hear what you think of 27.5 when you get a chance to ride one.

    -Walt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Just FYI, according to BRAIN the average "high end" (I think their definition of that was >$1500) bike is owned by it's original owner for 18 months!

    So yes, Iphone culture comes to bikes. Hard for me to knock it, though, since it's my livelihood. I guess all I can say is I hope the bikes I build are ridden for longer than that.

    It will be interesting to hear what you think of 27.5 when you get a chance to ride one.

    -Walt
    Crazy, isn't it? One would hope your bikes are ridden for longer, especially given your frames are custom. One day I hope to design/build my own bike frame with some friends, not to sell it, just to for the joy of creating it.

    As for the 27.5, if I ever switch I'm guessing it will be with many mixed emotions. If it's the revolution people are claiming it is, I imagine I'll be happy. But I also have a lot of money tied into expensive 26" wheels so it will also be incredibly depressing. I'm just not liking the idea of one day being forced to upgrade like I was forced to switch to 10 speed. You can stay 9 speed sure, but things like clutch derailleurs and new tech won't ever be on 9 speed derailleurs and 9 speed drivetrain parts will soon be scarce.
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Just FYI, according to BRAIN the average "high end" (I think their definition of that was >$1500) bike is owned by it's original owner for 18 months!

    So yes, Iphone culture comes to bikes. Hard for me to knock it, though, since it's my livelihood. I guess all I can say is I hope the bikes I build are ridden for longer than that.

    It will be interesting to hear what you think of 27.5 when you get a chance to ride one.

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  36. #36
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    I like the idea of the 650b wheel. I refuse to call it a 27.5 because it's not midway between 26 and 29 and if given an imperial size it would be more aptly called 27". Of course that would mess with other tire sizes already in existence, so you can't have that.
    Anyway, it's not a solution to anything. It's just another option. It's like 8 speeds vs 9 speeds vs 10 speeds and 2.0 widths vs. 2.4 widths, etc. It will ride differently than a 29er as well as a 26er. Some people may like this ride for their enduro/downhill bikes while riding 29ers for xc. Maybe some other people will continue to gravity ride with their 26er but maybe have a 650b for trail riding, etc...
    I've seen quite a few 650b's out on the trails here in Ma. Soma B-Sides, converted Ibis Mojo's, Santa Cruz TRc's and LT's. I have a Cannondale hardtail frame that I'm planning on building up as 650b since there is adequate clearance. I see them at races and the people talking about them really like them. I tend to think those racers just gave up on the 29er too quickly or rode one that was very far from being dailed in for them. I've demo'd a good number of mountain bikes in the last year (Pivot Mach 5.7, March 4, and Mach 429, Santa Cruz Tallboy and Tallboy LTc (I now own one), Rocky Mountain Altitude, Specialized Stumpjumper Evo, Ibis Mojo, Gary Fisher HiFi, Transition Bandit) and do think that just about any rider will do their normal trail riding faster on a 29er.
    Anyway, options are great. Are 26" advocates nervous that their carbon hoop options are going to go away? I really don't see that happening, but I guess that would be the first area to take the hit.

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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtdan View Post
    I like the idea of the 650b wheel. I refuse to call it a 27.5 because it's not midway between 26 and 29 and if given an imperial size it would be more aptly called 27"
    I call mine 27.5 because I measured it, thereby putting it midway between what is called 26" (even if it doesn't always measure such) and 29". The traditional imperial numbers refer to OD with the tires mounted. 27" does not comport with my experience. 650b is a traditional French designation which resonates little with those used the traditional imperial mtb nomenclature (now around 40 years old).

    650b Revolution, version 2.013-imageuploadedbytapatalk1366806852.981234.jpg

    But maybe the name of the wheel size is really just as subjective as whether you like riding it or not.


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    26" ISO: 559
    650B ISO: 584
    29" ISO: 622

    Difference between 29" and 650B = 622-584= 38
    Difference between 650B and 26" = 584 - 559 = 25
    Difference between 29" and 26" = 622 - 559 = 63
    25/63= .4
    38/63= .6
    So, if you're going to use 26 and 29 as the benchmark unit of measure, technically the new wheel size is 27.2

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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    650b Revolution, version 2.013-imageuploadedbytapatalk1366809748.169819.jpg

    Put away the micrometer and go ride your bike, maybe?


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    No micrometer, bike to happen soon. Had bad reaction to nachos last night and killing time to get it all out of my system before I go. I like the idea of the 27.2 standard. I'd just go with it.

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    Did someone mention A Perfect Circle?, then turn it up.

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    Those numbers are standards, not measurements. Don't get me started on all of the old Schwinn tire sizes from back in the day!

    There are 26" tires that measure 27" and 700c is not 700 anything!

    And I'm going with 27.2 too. That'll REALLY get people fuming!

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    If smoothing out the trail and making bikes not only faster, but easier to ride fast, than isn't the new crop of 29ers, (Spec Enduro, Yeti SB95C etc), a real threat to what the 650 is supposed to be? These are true trail bikes with aggressive geometry meant for All Mountian/Enduro type riding.

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    Regardless of what your preferred wheel size is, this made me laugh.

    26er/650b Death Match?With Puppets

    Seems he came across with the idea that (unlike 29ers) it's very subjective and he couldn't discern a noticeable difference in how it felt on the same trails given the same exact bike. That being said, I really like the idea of frames like the Banshee with adjustable/interchangeable dropouts that give you the option to run whichever you want and not jack up the geometry. Ability to change axle standards is great too. Future-proofing is always nice and it doesn't lock you into one or the other. If I was in the market for a new frame, I'd seriously consider this one and decide later if I wanted to switch wheel sizes.
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    27.2 didn't work as a standard for seatposts, so the idea has bad mojo.


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    When companies talk about dropping 26", I think back to the mtn bike race our club put on this past weekend. There were so many kids racing in the 10 and Under and 11-12 age categories and MOST OF THEM ARE ON 26" WHEELS! I suppose enough companies will continue making good quality 26" hardtails for the mtn biking kids of the world, but it is so easy to forget about some user groups that truly benefit from the 26" wheel size.

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    A 650b bike built for 11-12 year olds would be like a 29er for adults. What's the problem here again? Do you think all of the added benefits that full grown adults enjoy with 29er, added traction, better rollover etc would be wasted on 11-12 year olds and shorter people?

    No one said they would eliminate 26" wheels from kids bikes, they still sell 24" and 20" don't they?
    Last edited by Saddle Up; 04-25-2013 at 06:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    Has anyone ever thought that some might NOT like the increased rollover? I agree 27.5 and 29 add efficiency and newer riders will feel more comfortable on them (which is great for the sport of mountain biking). But what about those of us who like to pump through terrain on "AM" bikes and bomb through the chunder feeling it below us, using our arms and legs to throw our bike around. I like the challenge of mountain biking. I like the feel of maneuvering through steep, technical sections on a 26. I have a hardtail 29er for those days where efficiency and simplicity is valued above all else, and it beats me up less than my hardtail 26 did on long rides, but it's not my most FUN bike to ride by a long shot. I don't want to steamroll rock gardens, I want to feel them. Maybe I'm the minority. If I was racing I'd feel differently, but I'm not...so I want the most fun per mile, and for now, that is my 26 inch bikes.

    I'm glad we have choices, I hope that remains to be true. I hope some of you can see the validity in my point. I've tried 29" full suspension bikes and they weren't for me. They were stable at speed, they made some sections much easier to clean. But they still turned slow and made some trails feel flatter. Some people love this, but in my mind if your bike is doing half the work for you, what's the point? Flow is awesome, but I don't want EVERY trail to be smooth, buff singletrack either. I'll be sad if the 26 goes away at some point (not even factoring all the money I've invested into 26 and 26" wheels and tires).

    That being said, I will demo some 27.5 bikes when I get the chance and see how I like them. I haven't written them off completely, but I still feel they may lose some of what makes mountain biking fun in the first place. I like having modern suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, etc, so I'm not against progress in technology. Increased rollover to make riding through terrain easier just sounds the opposite of appealing for me and my riding style. If it retains the same playful feel as my 26 without muting the trail, maybe I'll be on one someday. Time will tell.
    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    I completely admitted it was all subjective. I just KNEW I was going to get the go ride a rigid BMX comment. Soooooo predictable. 29er guys say the same thing when you tell them you don't like their Koolaid No point taking it to extremes. I even said I like modern technology, but there is a personal point (like 29er full suspension) where [I FEEL] it becomes too much and just robs some of the fun out of many trails. I ride plenty of gnarly trails and go fast, so that's not the point. I know I don't have to ride 27.5 bikes. I think I made it clear that I'm glad we have choices, I just don't want to see 26 go away. I have no desire to ride wooden wheels either, so I guess that makes my opinion invalid?

    I did say I would try 27.5 bikes when they become more readily available. I wasn't bashing on them or anything. I just don't want to lose the feel of my 26 inch bike. Certain features make mountain bikes handle better without losing the fun factor. The entire wheel size revolution has been predominantly marketed around making rough terrain easier and gaining efficiency. While the bikes may be faster and gain efficiency, they lost some fun factor for me. I readily admit I just haven't had the opportunity to ride 27.5 bikes to see if this is more of the same. The availability hasn't been there until recently.

    Everyone has to draw the line where they feel they need/want the extra advantage and how it feels to them. I just don't want somebody else deciding what is best for me. The whole 27.5 revolution was started by people who didn't want to be told they should ride a 26 or a 29, yet those same people want 26 to go away?
    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    Well you're missing the fact that as bikes have progressed, the terrain the bikes have ridden on has gotten accordingly more gnarly and more technical. Look at the downhill tracks from years ago compared to today. So while the technology has progressed in mountain biking, it hasn't just made the same trails easier. It has progressed riding beyond what was once even thought possible. Look at some of the riding in Where the Trail Ends for example. Imagine even trying to backflip off a cliff on that old bike you mentioned. Is 27.5 going to progress riding beyond where it already is, or is it just going to make existing trails easier/faster? Did 29 push the boundaries of mountain biking in noticeable ways or just make some riders faster in certain arenas? Just making conversation here.

    I think there are some innovations that make mountain biking easier and more fun (drop seatpost for example), but others that make things easier but less fun. Some will argue that a drop seatpost is a crutch, but really it just automated something that many people already did, which is undo a quick release and lower the saddle. It just made the same process more convenient so you could spend more time on your bike having fun. Increased wheel size gives the advantage of extra rollover in rough terrain that allows you to carry speed easier. That's awesome, but is it more fun? not to me. It wasn't on 29ers. I could practically sleep through certain rocky sections that required lots of body control on my 26. It remains to be seen how a 27.5 bike will ride on the same trails I love. I may eat my words.

    I'm not saying 27.5 bikes don't have a place. The idea is sound, the technology and geometry is there. But for it to be the future that is forced upon mountain biking and to even think of eliminating the 26" wheel? That's what 29er people said originally. Just think what would happen if we were ALL on 29 inch wheels.
    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    That's great. I hope that's the case. I've looked at several 27.5 bikes but I really love my Pivot Mach 5.7. I'm looking for a DW-Link bike that is the same travel as my Pivot. Pivot came out with the 27.5 Firebird, but really didn't design it around the wheel size so it's not ideal in my mind. I've built my Mach up pretty burly, and the Firebird is more travel and more frame than I really need for an everyday bike even in really steep, rough terrain. The bike gets pedalled up a lot of big climbs here in Colorado (so I like to keep it reasonably light) and I've never wished for more on the descents. I have a downhill bike for the bike parks. The Bronson looks nice, but I'll wait to see what Ibis, Pivot, Turner do in the future.

    I guess the oft-repeated question is...is 27.5 a solution to a problem or a solution in search of a problem? It will definitely drive new bike sales, so that's good for the industry, and ultimately the consumer. I just don't see it killing 26 since there are plenty of us who love the "feel" of our 26" bikes. At least I hope that is the case. From a pure innovation standpoint I love 27.5. But as people have said, the bike industry isn't like most industries and may be pushing more innovation than it can sustain.

    The bike industry is trying to go from an industry where most would buy a bike maybe every 5-10 years to one where people replace their bike every 1-2 years. There's nothing wrong with that, it's a business and businesses need money. We're already at a place where most parts can't be stocked and almost everything is special order (which just contributes to more people shopping online). The sheer number of choices for the uneducated consumer is just mind-boggling. One only need look at the different fork/hub/headset combinations. Local bike shops aren't Best Buy and they can't possibly stock every option like they can when it comes to technology and all its frequent innovations/iterations. Innovation is great, but it's very important bike companies handle this properly to avoid alienating consumers.

    The industry is experiencing what I call iPad/iPhone syndrome. Most modern bikes are so great and geometry is so dialed that they're now making only incremental improvements every year and marketing the hell out of them to drive sales. The iPad was a great product, and could have been released with a front-facing camera (technology was there), but they withheld that feature and 1 year later released the iPad 2 that was slightly lighter and had that camera. People bought it in droves...again. People replaced their [less than a year old] iPhone 4s with 4Ses just to get Siri. New thru-axle standards, tapered steerers, BB92/30, carbon...all new things introduced that were so much better than what we were using that we need to upgrade something. 27.5 will get people to replace perfectly good bikes with new ones, just like 29ers did. What will be the next innovation to convince you to buy a new bike? Nothing wrong with that, just something to be aware of.
    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    Crazy, isn't it? One would hope your bikes are ridden for longer, especially given your frames are custom. One day I hope to design/build my own bike frame with some friends, not to sell it, just to for the joy of creating it.

    As for the 27.5, if I ever switch I'm guessing it will be with many mixed emotions. If it's the revolution people are claiming it is, I imagine I'll be happy. But I also have a lot of money tied into expensive 26" wheels so it will also be incredibly depressing. I'm just not liking the idea of one day being forced to upgrade like I was forced to switch to 10 speed. You can stay 9 speed sure, but things like clutch derailleurs and new tech won't ever be on 9 speed derailleurs and 9 speed drivetrain parts will soon be scarce.
    Dude, all this to say and you've never swung a leg over a 650b bike. Do you think you are alone in how you feel about your precious 26" bike? Do you think maybe the bike manufacturers are on to something here and they know something you don't? No one is forcing you do do anything, don't buy a new bike if you don't want one. What you don't seem to realize is 650b is tailor made for people like you, it's what they have been telling you all along, you don't seem to be listening. I'll also let you in a little secret, the bike industry exists to sell bikes to new riders, people just entering the sport, a far greater number of bikes in all price ranges are sold to first time buyers than are sold to repeat buyers. Every LBS in the world would close if they sat around waiting for repeat business.

  49. #49
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    To be a standard, more than one person would have to adopt it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    Dude, all this to say and you've never swung a leg over a 650b bike. Do you think you are alone in how you feel about your precious 26" bike? Do you think maybe the bike manufacturers are on to something here and they know something you don't? No one is forcing you do do anything, don't buy a new bike if you don't want one. What you don't seem to realize is 650b is tailor made for people like you, it's what they have been telling you all along, you don't seem to be listening. I'll also let you in a little secret, the bike industry exists to sell bikes to new riders, people just entering the sport, a far greater number of bikes in all price ranges are sold to first time buyers than are sold to repeat buyers. Every LBS in the world would close if they sat around waiting for repeat business.
    You seem to have completely missed the intention of my post. I've said I'm all for more choice, but as far as I'm concerned there's nothing wrong with my current bike. I'm just not sure who to believe. Tons of marketing from people essentially looking to sell bikes. Tons of people wanting to believe it's the next magical thing because it's in between the 2 wheel sizes. Plenty of people wanting to justify their purchase decision saying it's so noticeable and it rides so much better than their 26" bike. And yet...most of the reviews from people who make it their job to ride and review bikes all seem to be saying it's not really that noticeable, and if there is a difference it's negligible.

    All I'm trying to say, is who is one to believe? I have nothing against the wheel size and more choice, as I've repeatedly said...I just don't want to be one day forced into upgrading if I don't want to...like 10 speed drivetrains (which wear out noticeably faster than 9 speed BTW). The only reason I HAVEN'T ridden one is because there's none available yet for demo in my area. When there is I'll try it, but I'll be really (maybe pleasantly) surprised if there's some instantaneous magical benefit other than new bike syndrome. I already run pretty large rubber on my 26" bike so I'm not sure how much I'll even notice unless I can find a 27.5 bike with room for large tires and find the same tires in that size.

    We don't have to be divided. I thought we could have intelligent discourse on the subject. Afterall, I'm sure you'll agree that most of us would rather be riding. This just kills the time til we can get back on the trail again. We talk about bikes when we're not riding them cause it's in our head. We're the minority, the fanatics, the obsessed, always seeking out that extra bit of information. Many times we even talk about product that hasn't even materialized yet, like the latest fork or frame or part that we saw some press shot of or read some exclusive sneak peak on. So yeah, there's a certain amount of speculation (based on previous experience) that's bound to happen until one can actually ride one (just like people were excited about the Thomson dropper post before it was ever produced because of their reputation for quality and reliability).

    Once you're on the trail though, with that big grin on your face, what does it matter what size wheels you're on, as long as you're having fun? However, if you look at the OP, it's about the 650B "revolution" and how it's going to change mountain biking, 26ers are going to go away, etc. That's what I'm commenting on. I'm not bashing your preferred wheel size in any way.

    I did want to give some insight as to why some of us actually prefer 26" bikes even if it's not "better" or "more efficient". I'm actually thinking of building up a slack AM 26" hardtail again just to have fun on, something like the Chromag Stylus or Cotic BFe. I have extra 26" wheels lying around and will have an extra 26" fork too. On paper, it's a big step back from my Pivot Mach 5.7, but that doesn't mean it won't be a fun bike.

    I'm not sold yet on this new wheel size, but I'm keeping my mind open.

    BTW, do you think it's easy to come into the 650B/27.5 forum and even mention a differing opinion? I'm really surprised the torches and pitchforks haven't come out yet. I know I'm not going to change anyone's minds here, nor am I trying to. But there are always 2 sides to the story, and many 26" supporters are not stubborn holdouts that don't like new technology or resist progress. I appreciate the discussion in any case.
    Last edited by BaeckerX1; 04-25-2013 at 08:27 AM.
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    My $0.02:

    I have been riding mtb for over 20 years and have loved all the equipment improvements that came along and made riding more efficient and enjoyable. As far as easier and smoothing out the trails, I will admit I'm getting to the age that I'm not skilled enough to ride my 26'er in all terrain anymore. 29" and 27.5" will enable me to keep doing this sport for a much longer time without busting up my body or killing me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    My $0.02:

    I have been riding mtb for over 20 years and have loved all the equipment improvements that came along and made riding more efficient and enjoyable. As far as easier and smoothing out the trails, I will admit I'm getting to the age that I'm not skilled enough to ride my 26'er in all terrain anymore. 29" and 27.5" will enable me to keep doing this sport for a much longer time without busting up my body or killing me.


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  53. #53
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    All I'm going to say is this: If you like 26" and don't like 29", you should give 650b a try. Revolutionary? Nah. Just another small improvement, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BaeckerX1 View Post
    While the bikes may be faster and gain efficiency, they lost some fun factor for me.
    Totally hear you on that point. Honestly, 650b bikes don't ride a whole lot differently than 26". You'll probably have just as much fun.

    This is coming from someone that never had an issue with riding anything and everything on 26" and recently got into 650b for trail riding....

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    Word from Sea Otter is that Kona's Fire Mountain hard tail will be 650b next year. The Fire Mountain is not a high end race rig, but a basic bike that in its current form has an msrp of $699.
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    650b Revolution, version 2.013

    Quote Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
    Totally hear you on that point. Honestly, 650b bikes don't ride a whole lot differently than 26"..
    660b and 26 can be set up with the same geometry and suspension travel. On the other hand, 29" is a different animal. Sort of like a housecat and a bobcat vs a lion.

    Having said that, I had an interesting experience this weekend. Giant was in town with demo bikes and I rode 29" Anthems and Trances for 4 hours Saturday. Then back on the 27.5" on Sunday. I had expected that the tweener wheels would feel dinky and skittish what with the contrast. But they felt just fine. Hmmm...


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    Last edited by dwt; 04-25-2013 at 01:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    I will admit I'm getting to the age that I'm not skilled enough to ride my 26'er in all terrain anymore. 29" and 27.5" will enable me to keep doing this sport for a much longer time without busting up my body or killing me.


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    I am right there with you. I used to be a die hard hardtail guy. I absolutely love 26" hardtails, I think there is nothing more fun to ride. But I am getting to the age where my body simply can't take the pounding anymore. I have been riding for over 20 years, and I just got my first FS bike in 2006. I looked at 29ers, but they were too cumbersome and sluggish (remember I love 26" hardtails). 650b gives me almost the same feeling as 26" but lets me ride a little harder without getting too beat up and lets me ride terrain a little more safely.
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